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A salty, gooey take on an American classic

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Forego the usual pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving and take a stab at this salted caramel apple pie, courtesy of the ladies behind Four and Twenty Blackbirds. The newish Gowanus bakery has quickly gained fans for its classics pies, with a twist.

“We have this pie at the shop every day and it is by far our most popular,” said Emily Elsen, who runs the pie shop with her sister, Melissa.

If the recipe looks a bit involved for your Thanksgiving preparations, you can also always just buy it from Four and Twenty. We won’t judge.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

From Four and Twenty Blackbirds

For the apple mixture

5-6 medium to large apples (a mixture of Crispin, Granny Smith, Cortland is nice if you can)

4-6 lemons

1/2 cup sugar

Juice lemons into large mixing bowl. Core, peel and thinly slice the apples whole — a mandolin works great for producing very thin slices. Dredge all slices in freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Sprinkle with the sugar, coating all the slices, this will help sweat out some of the extra apple juices that could make the pie watery. Set prepared apples aside while you make the salted caramel.

For the salted caramel

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup water

1 stick of fresh unsalted butter

1/2 cup fresh heavy cream

1-1/2 tsp. sea salt

Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper. This process can take awhile depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, the caramel should just barely begin to begin to smoke, but be careful not to burn it or you will have to start over.

Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove from heat and immediately add the heavy cream — the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam — be cautious as the steam and sugar will be very hot.

Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt.

Set aside while you prepare the four and spice mixture.

For the spiced flour mixture

1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

2 to 3 dashes Angostora bitters

2 tbsp. flour

In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Drain the extracted juices from the prepared apples and then sprinkle this flour sugar mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.

Assembly

Rolled pie crust and lattice

Salted caramel

Apple mixture

1 egg beaten

Pastry brush

Raw sugar for sprinkling on top

1 tsp. sea salt (flake)

1 tbl. flour

1 tbl. sugar

Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel and apple mixture. Begin by sprinkling the bottom of the crust with the one tablespoon of flour and sugar each. Then start layering apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour a generous amount of the caramel, but not all of it. Make a second layer of apples then caramel, then a third layer of apples, then caramel again. Save a small portion of caramel to pour on top once lattice is assembled.

Assemble the lattice and flute the edges of the crust. If the crust has become soft, you can chill in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt. Pour the last bit of caramel on top.

Bake on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven) for 20 minutes at 375-400 degrees (depending on the hotness of your oven). Reduce heat to 325-350 degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. They should be just soft.

Cool, slice and enjoy.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds [439 Third Ave. at Eighth Street in Gowanus, (718) 499-2917]. For info, visit www.birdsblack.com.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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